Ex-Joliet councilman’s attempted disorderly conduct case dismissed

Judge grants defense motion to dismiss the case

Don “Duck” Dickinson arrives to the Will County Courthouse with his lawyer Frank Andreano. The former Joliet councilman is charge with false accusation against the Joliet Mayor. Monday, April 11, 2022, in Joliet.

A judge granted a former Joliet city councilman’s attorney’s motion to dismiss an attempted disorderly conduct charge that alleged he falsely accused the mayor of threatening him.

On Tuesday, Special Prosecutor Bill Elward delivered no arguments in response to the motion filed July 18 by Frank Andreano, attorney for former city councilman Don “Duck” Dickinson.

Elward charged Dickinson with attempted disorderly conduct that accused him of making a false report to an Illinois State Police special agent in 2020 by falsely accusing Mayor Bob O’Dekirk of threatening him.

Will County Judge Victoria Breslan said in light of hearing no arguments from Elward and that Andreano was standing on his motion, she granted it and dismissed the case against Dickinson.

“He is discharged,” Breslan said.

After Tuesday’s court hearing, Dickinson said he wanted to thank everyone who supported him.

“Especially friends,” Dickinson said.

When asked if he believed whether O’Dekirk tried to do anything to bad to him, he deferred questions to Andreano, who said, “We’re just happy it’s over.”

Andreano’s July 18 motion to dismiss had argued Dickinson “does not believe that he communicated to the police [the] receipt of any threat of violence or other criminal conduct.”

“Rather defendant made such a report upon the advice of the then chief of police of the City of Joliet,” said Andreano’s motion, referring to Al Roechner, who retired in January 2021.

Andreano’s motion said that given Roechner’s position and experience, he “knew or should have known that no criminally actionable threat had been communicated by the mayor to the defendant.”

Dickinson announced his resignation on Nov. 20, 2020. At Dickinson’s last council meeting on Nov. 2, 2020 , he read a statement where he said he’s been “harassed, badgered, tormented and now blackmailed unfairly” over a past relationship involving photos.

His statement did not specifically refer to O’Dekirk.

At that time, Dickinson did confirm that he suspected a Joliet elected official has been plotting to blackmail him with a nude photograph. He would not comment on the police report or the alleged involvement of O’Dekirk or Jennifer Jobe-Gavin, a Joliet Park District commissioner who was named in the report.

On the same day, Dickinson filed a police report that alleged that he was told that O’Dekirk claimed to have nude photos of him. The report listed the offense of “intimidation,” which is a felony in Illinois.

O’Dekirk denied the accusation.

Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk

Following an Illinois State Police investigation, Elward charged Dickinson on March 9 with attempted obstruction of justice by making a false report to former Joliet Deputy Police Chief Marc Reid. Elward later changed the offense to attempted disorderly conduct.

Dickinson was part of a council majority that was in conflict with O’Dekirk and other council members over the hiring of a city manager for several years.

The council majority had also opposed paying $200,000 to former City Attorney Marty Shanahan as part of a settlement in his wrongful termination lawsuit against the city. O’Dekirk once pushed to make Shanahan the permanent city manager.

Dickinson’s Nov. 2, 2020, police report was filed the same day the council rejected the Shanahan payout in a 4-3 vote. Dickinson was singled out by O’Dekirk and Councilman Larry Hug for an explanation on his vote against the deal. Dickinson declined to explain his vote.

Following Dickinson’s resignation, Todd Wooten, former member of the city’s Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, was recommended for appointment to the City Council by O’Dekirk. Wooten was rejected by the council in a 4-3 vote.

The council then unanimously approved the appointment of Lande, who is one of O’Dekirk’s top campaign contributors. Lande is also a member of the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners.

Lande was part the majority 5-4 vote to give Shanahan a $200,000 payout. O’Dekirk cast the tie-breaking vote.

Lande was also part of the majority 5-3 vote to hire James Capparelli as city manager. O’Dekirk had backed Capparelli for the position.